Porn: The Vile Invisible Elephant in The Church

[For the sake of time, sanity and honestly laziness, I have some previously used material I’d like to share from time to time: let’s call them “regurgitations.” I have a few saved posts I wrote that were previously shared on the late great blog “Enabled by God” (shout out to Kyle if you’re reading). These were mainly devotional in type, and I believe they may be beneficial to someone somewhere in the E-World. Enjoy.] 

There is a giant elephant in our church sanctuaries. He sits in the back. Vile and unassuming. The deacons, choir, congregation, and even the pastor knows he’s there, yet they all try to ignore him. Meanwhile, he discreetly wreaks havoc on the soul of the church.

This lurking elephant’s name is porn.

It’s estimated a solid majority of young men (18-30) in the church view sexually pornographic images at least once a month.  Even a disturbing amount of young women are becoming more fascinated by it. Depending on what statistics you’re looking at, it is not improbable this sin is ravaging the very soul of your pastor.

Now before we go too far let me give a disclaimer: I know the statistics of the “true church” (born-again-blood-bought-bride-of-Christ) do not emulate those of the world. I know most statistics on “the church” include anyone who warms a pew and casually confesses Christ. That is a valid argument. But even after the goats are separated from the sheep, I personally believe the statistics of porn abuse in the “true church” would still be surprisingly high. If I can be intensely personal and honest: My most fatal bouts with pornography occurred after I came to Christ. And even though I have experienced some victory regarding the specific sin of porn (by the grace of God), the general battle of lust still rages ever onward within.

Yes, that's why He wants them to repent

Porn is a multi-billion dollar industry (with a “B”). The revenue one can make in defiling God’s temple, abusing the gift of sexuality, and objectifying women is staggeringly sickening. What once seemed to be a seedy underworld, is now being thrust upon us in the open arena of modern culture. Given the chemical reactions and “high” the brain experiences while a person views sexual images, porn is as addictive as any drug on the streets. While the American church is spending much of it’s resources lambasting the sin of homosexuality and opining over lost constitutional rights, we’ve let a dark ugly elephant take up residence deep within us.

Jesus, in his ever-penetrating way, sheds His light directly into our darkness. Let’s see what He said on the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:28-30
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”

The self-righteous Pharisee’s jaw would have dropped at Christ’s interpretation of the law. They thought they had a corner on the religious market, but Christ blew their whitewashed attempts at spirituality out of the water. An outward appearance of religiosity could be sustained for a time, but not absolute perfect purity of heart. Christ was attempting to drive his listeners to repentance by displaying all men as guilty before God’s impossible standard of righteousness. Their (and our) only hope was casting themselves upon the mercy of God in Christ. That would be Christ’s word to those who believe they are relatively good compared to the home wrecker, harlot, or man whore; yeah, but are you perfect? If not, repent.

There are also some haunting words here for the red blooded American male who already professes Christ. Life is war. It’s a furious struggle with self. The sinning eye must be violently removed. The transgressing hand must be brutally dealt with. Eyes and hands are both good gifts from God. But even good gifts must be abandoned if they interfere with our service to the King and his Kingdom. Relationships, cars, careers, reputations, retirement homes, and political agendas are good things; but God may be calling you to unleash a Samurai sword of sacrificial love and obedience on these good things for His sake.

You may look like Lieutenant Dan in the end, but it’s infinitely better to be a warrior who sacrificed, than to be a spectator who compromised.

These are also haunting words for the American female who professes Christ. For our female readership (all two of you!), this means there are some legitimate questions you should be raising to yourself before you ever even begin a day. Maybe questions like:

-Am I going to act and present myself in such a way as to encourage my Christian brother’s battle against adultery?

-Is what I am wearing going to take a Christian brother’s eyes off of Jesus and on me?

-Is my body going to be the diversion that helps cause another Christian man to become a casualty in his war against sensuality and lust?

-Should I be more careful what photos I post on Facebook, Myspace, etc.?

Ladies, before you slap a legalist stamp on my forehead let me explain to you an unfortunate secret: Your non-Christian male coworkers, classmates, church members, internet lurkers, passive bystanders and neighborhood perverts in general are already looking at you lustfully. Your Christian brothers are the only ones in the world who are really trying their God given best not to. I speak for most of them when I say: Help a brother out!

It would be remiss to characterize the battle of lust as mainly dealing with simple behavior modifications. We have a much higher calling on our lives than merely not looking at porn. We must replace that passion with an immeasurably greater one. Namely, by fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:1-2) By seeking his mighty right hand, where there are ceaseless pleasures (Psalm 16:11). By thirsting for His sweet and holy presence, where we can truly taste and see that He is the only lasting good (Psalm 34:8).

May our pursuit of the deceptive shallow delights of this world be blown away in the light of His radiating redemption. And may His face alone be where true beauty, fascination, and satisfaction are found. Forevermore.

Bryan Daniels

Tim Challies has recently posted a “Prayer for Those Struggling with Porn.”  by Pastor Scotty Smith. It would benefit you to check it out.

Advertisements

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

27 thoughts on “Porn: The Vile Invisible Elephant in The Church”

  1. Thankyou for this blog post (which found by complete accident on the net lol).
    I support the scripture in Titus that encourages the older women to tutor the younger in biblical femininity. I believe pornography is everyones issue, including the womens even if their not the ones buying the magazine or hiding their internet searches. And the best way (in my opinion) to support the men, is dressing and acting modestly, and being aware that we have the tendency to sin against men by being emotional and manipulative bullies. Not to say that men are perfect lol. A lot of it requires serious discernment.
    God bless you

    1. Thanks Melody!

      I totally agree, the whole church (young and old, men and women) has to take up it’s spiritual weapons to kill this scourge on it’s soul.

      IMO we get so broken up by age specific categories, that the young and old rarely get to interact, much less sow into one another.

  2. Thanks Bryan…

    I’m reading The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn for a class. I would recommend it to everyone. It’s a short and easy read that is proving very helpful!

  3. yes i have returned!!!!

    Louisville is good! Classes start tomorrow…I start Greek on Tuesday (pray for me haha)

  4. Thanks for the link back to this post..
    It’s pressed me to look back at your earlier posts and they’re awesome (don’t really know if I can really use that word..)
    But the fact that you can speak about things that people fear to talk about is inspiring to me..
    When I was younger..(I’m 22 now, so it was probably at about 14 or 15) I accidentally stumbled across porn on the internet and for a while found myself returning to these particular sites and more. We thank God that he delivered me from that..and tbh, this is the first time I’ve actually told anyone about it.
    I don’t feel ashamed or condemned because God has forgiven me and I know that I won’t go back to it..but the fact that it is the elephant and is being ignored is troubling for me..because I’m sure like me..some people were not even looking for it when they initially came across it..and now struggle with it and feel so condemned within themselves and ashamed that they can’t even bring themselves to ask for help or address the issue because people act as if it does not exist.
    These past few weeks I’ve been reading more scripture and biblical texts (a select few) on different subjects and believe it or not, but your posts are encouraging me to delve further into the Word only for my eyes to actually be open to the true meaning of something that I have probably read about three or four times before.
    The lines where you spoke about the women is also something that gets overlooked a lot..we know that some of our Christian brothers (some more than others) struggle with lust and sometimes (maybe even unconsciously) we’d rather dress to attract attention than to behave modestly. Luckily for me, I was also delivered from that mind-set of dressing for attention and now I think twice before throwing something on that I think could cause a fellow brother to fall.
    I’m sorry about such a long essay, but just know that God is speaking to me through you..I didn’t come across you by accident and I know I have a lot to learn.
    Keep doing, writing and speaking all that you are..you are a daily blessing to me!
    God Bless!

    1. OAJ! You’re comments are almost a daily encouragement to me! I thank God that he transcends time and space and uses whatever means to bless His own through the Holy Spirit…You’re testimony is powerful and I aprreciate the honesty.

      It’s almost a given men will struggle with it but it is shocking how many women are falling into such a dark trap. If the church is going to be honest and authentic about its shortcomings then Christian men and women must shine the gospel light even into their own dark pasts so others may be encouraged to step into the same light.

      The only reason I think you don’t hear it from the pulpit more often is because so many ministers are struggling with the sin.

      I hope my reblogs aren’t getting annoying; I do them because of my recent influx of subsribers (I know only a handful of people saw these posts the first time around!)

      Thanks for your kind words and God bless you, Proverbs 31 woman!

  5. The porn industry has affected the gallery’s ministry in devastating ways for many years.

    Pornographers want easy access to Christian men who want discreet and easy access to porn. Pornographer’s frequently buy up old christian domain names, steal content, and hack through ministry web pages in order to gain traffic and web pages filled with Christian content. Then they use this content to draw unsuspecting Christian visitors into their toxic/addictive dens. Pornographers don’t stop at devastating human dignity. They steal all kinds of materials that don’t belong to them on the internet as well. Although they start with one sin that they keep “hidden,” eventually they graduate to committing even more sin in the public marketplace, in front of everyone.

    When confronted they often cry, “freedom of expression”. I thought that “freedom of expression” had to do with expressing an opinion, not demoralizing women and children, lying to authorities, and stealing property that doesn’t belong to you?

  6. Reblogged this on Sara's Musings and commented:
    Porn is a huge problem inside and outside of the Church. This is a “reblog” from a male blogger, “Chief of the Least,” who has stated the problem much better than I can as a female. In years past I’ve been accused by some men of being against porn primarily because as a female I don’t look like those women in porn–which, by the way, is true, and most normal women don’t look like the women in porn. Naomi Wolf has written an excellent article from a secular point-of-view titled “The Porn Myth” and states, “In the end, porn doesn’t whet men’s appetites—it turns them off the real thing.” ‘Nough said–they both can tell the story much better than I can.

  7. I’m so glad you did a post on this… so many times I’ve wanted to scream at the top of my lungs at women in church “Help your fellow brothers in the Lord! Dress modestly!”

  8. My husband is really angry when he goes to church and some young thing sits in his line of sight with bare shoulders, exposed bosoms, butt crack pants, etc.etc. etc.He’s no sex fiend, but he is a healthy male and God wired you guys to be visually stimulated. He spends the whole service trying ignore the bare skin and has little energy left over for worship.

    I think the same thing about anyone who is rocking out at church with vulgar hip thrusts instead of tapping toes or clapping hands or whatever. Don’t get me wrong – I think there is some amazing praise music out there on the very cutting edge of what’s new as well as some good old rock and roll – but come on now. If your gyrations are more appropriate for the strip joint across town than the front of a church, maybe it’s not really God you’re rocking out, but the music itself.

  9. Thank you for speaking out against this evil in our world. The Christian life is a holy life, and we all need encouragement to keep our eyes on Jesus.

  10. I have to say that I admired the way you addressed us female Christians. Yes, we are free to dress as we please, but you are right to ask us not to tempt you. Perhaps it is because I am a woman that I don’t understand this male compulsion to lust after women. I truly don’t. I know that I (and none of my friends!) go around wanting to touch some guy we don’t know- even if they are good looking. The thought is somewhat repulsive. I only want to ‘be’ with the person I love. Are you speaking for all men when you say that all men are already looking lustfully at women? Is that really true?

    Also, do you really think that if a beautiful woman wore a different neckline or higher waisted pants then men would stop lusting after them? Just how much clothing does a beautiful woman with a beautiful body have to wear before men stop this lustful looking & thinking? Are high heels, perfume and make-up also a problem?

    And isn’t this a little different than men looking at porn? Looking at porn is a decision one makes. Finding a woman attractive is just a normal male response. I think that finding a woman attractive is not necessarily lust. Isn’t lust actually desiring to take that feeling and allowing your imagination to go even further with that woman and her body?

    I am not being sarcastic here (well, maybe a little tongue-in-cheek!). I truly would like to know.

    1. Lim! I do believe I speak for an overwhelming majority of heterosexual red blooded men as far as the lust issue! Because of sin, I agree, that impulse is unfortunately repulsive.

      I don’t have an answer to most of your questions, I believe it is enough for conscientious women to at least be aware of the issue men are facing. If they are mindful and a little sympathetic, then I believe women will appropriately wear clothing that will be a window to their face, not a peep show to their body.

      In the end, I put the greatest responsibility at the feet of the man who is lusting, while acknowledging Christ is the only lasting prescription for such a gripping addiction like lust/porn. Men need to man up mostly, they are the one’s keeping the porn industry afloat in a recession!

      Good questions! I may attempt to answer them more satisfactorily in a whole separate post. Peace and grace!

  11. Excellent post. I don’t know how I have escaped the net of pornography personally, but somehow I have never ever seen an example of it on TV, at the movies, or on the computer.

    But guess what? Just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t make me immune. I will never forget the day that my husband (then my boyfriend) called me with a tear-filled voice and asked me to meet him for a few minutes even though it was my busy press day at the newspaper office where I was editor.

    I was petrified by the terror in his voice and wondered what on earth had happened. When I arrived at the rendezvous spot, he began sobbing and confessed to me that he had been looking at pornography on the computer for months and wanted to stop. Before I could even feel any condemnation rise up, I threw my arms around him and comforted him, being very moved by his transparency and humility.

    We had a long talk, during which he promised he was through with this disgusting habit. I believed him, since he hadn’t had to even confess his sin to me. He could’ve kept his dirty little secret, but instead he valued our relationship AND his relationship with the Lord (he was a baby Christian) more.

    We have now been married for 2 years, and I have no doubt that when he tells me he hasn’t looked at porn since that day, he means it. Thanks be to God for that deliverance that I believe was sped up by his willingness to bring the sin out into the open and repent to God AND to the one who meant the most to him on this earth–me.

    But I know that what he struggled with, so many other young men battle, too, and are afraid to come clean. Sometimes it’s the first step of becoming transparent that starts the deliverance in motion.

    Thank you again for bringing this horrible problem to light and for reminding us women how to dress in a way that is morally pleasing to our God and our brothers in Christ.

  12. Reblogged this on cornelilioi and commented:
    The Invisible Elephant is not a myth…..IS REAL…..and is in the back of any church !!!
    “The deacons, choir, congregation, and even the pastor knows he’s there, yet they all try to ignore him. Meanwhile, he discreetly wreaks havoc on the soul of the church.”

    …and have a name…..The Giant elephant’s name is…..PORN!

  13. Pingback: Sara's Musings
  14. Thank you for visiting my site. Your visit and kind comment led me here to your great site. Thank you for your insightful treatment of this subject. You are wrong about one thing, however. It is I who am the chief of sinners! =/ =)
    Blessings from your new subscriber,
    Len of gloryteller

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s